Why We Exist

WHY WE EXIST    Patricia H. Wesson

We exist because the problem still exists.

Even though women owned businesses are the fastest growing segment in the U. S., they are rarely the recipients of the billions of dollars in contracts awarded each year by government and corporate entities.   Contracts for Women Advocacy exists to empower women owned business via government and corporate contract opportunities. Despite the consistent growth of women-owned businesses, the revenues received by these businesses still lag way behind of businesses owned by men. The number of women-owned firms continues to grow at a rate exceeding the national average, yet women-owned firms only employ 6 percent of the nation’s workforce and contribute just under 4 percent of business revenues—roughly the same share they contributed in 1997.

Also, the federal government purchases billions of dollars in goods and services each year that range from paperclips to complex space vehicles as is responsible for ensuring that the statutory government-wide goals are met in the the aggregate. However, this goal has never been met and the problem still exists. The statutory goal is 5% of prime and subcontracts for Women Owned Businesses. Contracts for Women Advocacy exists to help prepare and position women owned business for these opportunities and lead them to the pursuit.

According to a 2014 report by American Express, ”

GAO reports more than 40% of women-owned set-aside contracts were awarded to ineligible firms in FY 2012 and 2013

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“The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce was alarmed to find the GAO report included the disclosure that more than 40% of women-owned set-aside contracts were awarded to ineligible firms in FY 2012 and 2013,”[1],[2] stated Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce. “And, this lack of accountability does not end with just women-owned set-asides. Per the GAO, statements made by SBA officials disclose that the levels of ineligibility found during their examination of the women’s program were similar to those found in examinations of its other socioeconomic programs,” adds Dorfman. “The GAO report also reveals the SBA is doing very little to prevent ineligible firms from attesting their status as women-owned in the federal database of contractors, receiving set-aside contracts and being counted toward government-wide women-owned small business annual contract goaling reports.”

“It is clear, the SBA’s support of women in business is not what is so consistently purported in SBA press releases,” continues Dorfman. “When assessing the financial results of ineligible firms receiving women-owned set-asides (and the federal government erroneously counting ineligible firms as ‘women-owned’ for federal goaling reports with or without set-asides), the extent of the inaccuracies and subterfuge translates into billions of dollars which have been misattributed as contracts awarded to women-owned firms every year.  In FY 2014, the potential real dollar losses for legitimately women-owned firms, as the SBA misreported the actual dollars awarded to women-owned firms, may be over $5B,” adds Dorfman.

Article extracted from U. S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce